Friday, December 18, 2009

Guess Who's Being Persecuted? and By Whom?

Stephen Boissoin and Fr. Michael Prieur By the Christians

Persecution is a strong word. It might come as a shock to think I am saying that Christians are persecuting Christians. If it is a little too heavy a word for your sensibilities, you can substitute gossiping about for persecuting, and see if that makes it any easier to swallow.

Stephen and Fr. Prieur have something in common. They are being eaten alive by their brothers (and sisters) in Christ. The brethren, who are committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and do not mean harm, are immune to context and details, but are going after their own, in these two situations. Why? Because they can, and besides doing the digging it would take to figure out the truth is too much like work. They are using earthly judgment to move in the heavenly realm.

In this sound bite world we live in, if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, smells like a duck, it is clearly a duck, even if only for a sound bite. But, we all imitate ducks for sound bite sections of our lives. Does that make us all ducks? Does it make any of us ducks?

Although I find this hard to believe from him, Michael Coren is disabusing Stephen Boissoin, and he is not alone. Does he have any idea what Stephen stands for or what has been the result of THE LETTER, or what work Stephen really does? Nope, but that hasn't stopped him.

And Fr. Michael Prieur, a professor of theology at St. Peter's Seminary and revered for his orthodoxy and love of Holy Mother Church, by all who KNOW him, as opposed to those who think they do, is the target of two bloggers professing to be Catholic, and with good Catholic hearts, but leaving doubt as to the universality of their catholicity in this instance.

Stephen Boissoin has been beaten up by the Red Deer Advocate, who really could have ponied up and stood up for him at the beginning of this ridiculous mess, but wimped out. Now, they are opining on, without researching, The LETTER. But, heck they are a newspaper and their job is to sell their product. I am not inclined to pass it off, but I understand where they are coming from at least. As foul as it is, it makes sense to them to pursue this path to increase revenues. We'll see how it works for them over time.

But, the gay news source supported Stephen and his right to say what he did enough to interview him and to print the interview verbatim. They asked him serious, not softball, questions. How come they get it, and the Advocate doesn't?

Now, as for Michael Coren, where is his head at? Here's what Mr. Coren has to say, as he opines without researching the mind and heart of Stephen Boissoin.

You know, when I read Stephen's letter without a context for it, I didn't like it and I wouldn't say things that way. But that's just me. When he invited me to communicate with him directly, and not just render bald faced opinions, I did, because I was not married to my own self importance and wisdom. I then talked with him and asked about what he did and why he did it, and read what he had written on his own web site. Only then did I come to understand more of his mind and heart. Then I got it. He had a point to make, a particular injustice in education that he was angry about, and it was a good one, that you have to know the political climate in Alberta to understand. It did not call for a namby pamby approach. It called for a get tough attitude in his opinion, and so that's what Stephen wrote.

Michael Coren made some unsupportable assumptions about the letter with no background, and he has never spoken to Stephen about it. So, what we get is a Christian stabbing another Christian in the back, with a smile on his face, not even knowing that he has a knife in his hands. I don't know about you, but it doesn't work for me.

That brings me back to Father Michael Prieur. Two bloggers in Ottawa have taken a run at him for his support of the Winnipeg Statement, a document that the Canadian Bishops wrote back in 1968, over 40 years ago, shortly after and about Humanae Vitae, the important papal encyclical, that is proving to be very prophetic about our current society.

They have a point. Critics of the Winnipeg Statement complain that it is offensive to the encyclical and that it should have been repudiated. Shame on the bishops, they say, for not repudiating it even though they produced a "Statement on the Formation of Conscience" which was what they needed to do, in light of the fact that they urged Catholics to follow their conscience in their life decisions, and then produced in 2008 their pastoral letter "Liberating Potential". And double shame on Fr. Michael Prieur for his orthodoxy in supporting and submitting his personal authority to the bishops who had been appointed by the various popes, as his leaders for the Church in Canada at the time, and even up to the time of the later letter.

Give me a break. 10 people read the Winnipeg Statement. Two are our well meaning blogger friends in the nation's capital. 6 of the others are the Bishops who participated in its writing, and Fr. Prieur, as a theologian, and then me for the 8. There is not a seat in the pew Catholic who gave a rat's tush about the WS, or does now. So, repudiating it would serve what purpose?

Then they say shame on Fr. Prieur for his support and leadership of a policy at St. Joseph's Hospital dealing with difficult and challenging pre-born infants. They are upset hat he has not rolled over and agreed to discuss matters with them, even though they have verbally skewered him repeatedly in their blogs. There is more, but my point is made.

Christians need to learn the Christian use of the various media outlets, TV and blogs to name two. Michael Coren and these two bloggers, committed Christians and men with whom I agree far more than I disagree, are not the source of wisdom, and do us all a disservice and themselves more so for being lured into thinking that they have a lock on the truth, even in the context of the particular issues. It makes for lazy Christianity. Remember "Judge not, lest you be judged."

Give these two good Christian men, Stephen and Father Prieur a break, and the benefit of some doubt. Stephen Boissoin will talk to anybody who asks about THE LETTER. So, ask him. Fr. Michael Prieur is much more tight lipped, for a number of valid reasons, one of which has to do with the sh?t storm that the Ottawa pair have created over not a lot of fact; the other his devoted support of his local bishop and of Canadian Bishops in general.

I would like to be finished writing about Stephen Boissoin because THE LETTER should be laid to rest, and he should be allowed to get on with his day job, his vocation of service to youth, and the raising of his two children.

However, as to Father Prieur, I hope to be meeting with him in January, and will, only with the appropriate local approval, write the required response to the noise that has been created, and which surrounds him at the moment. I assure you that it will be well researched, and will be orthodox, but will not be written if it will bring damage to the Church.

I support these two men of God, because they are doing the best they know how to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people they encounter. When you, my fellow Christian brothers and sisters have walked a mile, heck a foot, in their shoes, then feel free to criticize them. Until then, think long and hard before you let your jaws and your keyboards flap, and then preferably with an open mind.

I will take the same advice to heart, because many times in my life I have played loose with the truth, thinking I have the answers, only to find when it got down to it, that I was not even sure of the questions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hear hear, Michael!!!